Thunes receives license for Singapore operation

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Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely… Read more
  • Thunes given green light from Monetary Authority of Singapore to offer more services
  • It can now on-board firms which are from any sector and which are not based exclusively in Singapore
  • “We look forward to expanding our range of services provided on our global interoperable membership network to better serve the needs of financial institutions and corporates”, said executive chairman

International money transfer start-up Thunes has revealed that it has been given the green light to operate a payment service in Singapore.

Thunes has been given the license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, meaning that it will be able to include firms from across a variety of sectors in its payment networks.

It will no longer have to limit itself to financial firms which operate in Singapore only – such as Grab, Singtel and DBS Bank.

According to Peter de Caluwe, who serves as the firm’s executive chairman, the move came about as a result of a change in the law.

“We are delighted to receive the remittance license from the MAS. With the Payment Services Act entering into force early next year, we look forward to expanding our range of services provided on our global interoperable membership network to better serve the needs of financial institutions and corporates”, he said.

The firm will now have to fulfil a range of regulatory requirements – although local press in Singapore are reporting that these are likely just to be formalities.

Thunes, which used to be known as TransferTo, has a goal of reaching people who are unbanked and who cannot use financial services.

It has been supported by a range of backers, including GGV Capital – which recently led a venture funding round worth $10m.

On the homepage of its website, Thunes describes itself as an “interoperable membership network enabling the seamless movement of funds across borders”.

It says there that it operates in “more than 80 countries” and that it can save “you time and resources on developing countless integrations to multiple systems”.

Its staff are based across the world, and it is currently hiring in locations as diverse as Shanghai and London.

It says that it already operates in 13 countries in the Asia-Pacific and works with over 2.5 billion bank accounts there.

This suggests a high degree of penetration in the Asia-Pacific countries where it does work.

In Europe, it operates in 34 countries – but at 395 million-plus bank accounts, it appears to work with far fewer users there.

The news comes during a busy few weeks for financial services firms in Southeast Asia.

TransferWise, for example, recently announced that it would open up in Malaysia, while NIUM – the firm formerly known as InstaReM – announced it will launch in Indonesia.

Whether you’re interested in Southeast Asia in particular or you want to keep up to date with what’s happening on the cross border payments scene across the world, our informative and regularly-updated magazine pages can help. 


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